Grandparents are very important to children. They give lots of love and are a precious link with family, culture and the past.
Grandparents are special
It is natural for children or grannies to spend time with grandparents.
Grandparents can give children:
- love and a place where they feel safe and secure
- a sense of belonging to family, culture and community.
- play, talk and have fun with children
- talk about family and culture, and tell stories from the past
- listen to children’s worries — tell them you love them
- show children how to do things —
cooking, art, craft, gardening, home chores
- take children out and about and to cultural events.
Grandparents help grannies to build identity as an Aboriginal person.
Grandparents and children build special bonds that last a lifetime.
What children need
- your kindness and patience
- someone to understand their feelings
- regular routines such as mealtimes and bedtimes
- encouragement to learn — share books, stories, songs. Ask about their school work
- to know what the rules are in your home — what is OK and not OK
- to be shielded from adult problems.
Remember it’s OK to say ‘No’ to children when you need to.
Grandparenting can be great fun. Enjoy spending time with your grannies!
When children live with grandparents
Some children stay with grandparents overnight, during school holidays or for a short time to give parents a break. Sometimes children live with grandparents for a long time. This can happen suddenly. Grandparents usually say ‘Yes’ no matter what. It can mean:
- a full house
- lots to do
- less time for you
- extra cost
- impact on your physical and mental health.
Children can feel:
- happy and excited
- unhappy, worried, angry or confused —they just want their mum or dad.
Be patient. Children living with you might need extra love and support.
Getting along with your adult children
It’s best for grandchildren if you get along with their parents. This can be hard if there is conflict. When you talk with your adult children:
- listen and talk things through
- try not to criticise or take over
- ask how you can help
- suggest services that might be useful.
As much as you can:
- put grandchildren’s needs first
- don’t take sides
- give people time to work things out.
If your adult children don’t take your advice — you might have to accept they do things differently!
Talk about children’s parents kindly. Children love them no matter what.
Looking for more information
ParentLink - for other parenting guides, online parenting information:
Child and Family Centres - for parenting information and support
Raising Children’s Network - covering topics for parenting newborns to teens
Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation t 6296 8900
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service t 6284 6222
Relationships Australia Dhunlung Yarra Service is dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples t 6122 7100
This guide’s content was produced by Parenting SA.
© Department of Education and Child Development, Government of South Australia. Reproduced with permission and adapted by the ACT Government to reflect Australian Capital Territory laws (11/17).
Important: This information is not intended to replace advice from a qualified practitioner.
Published by ParentLink
Community Services Directorate, GPO Box 158, Canberra ACT 2601, email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 13 34 27.
ACT Government Publication No. 17/0604 (June 2017)